SF-B608A3: Anglo-Saxon shield mount

Rights Holder: Suffolk County Council Archaeology Service
CC License:

Rights Holder: Suffolk County Council Archaeology Service
CC License:

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Unique ID: SF-B608A3

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

An incomplete early Anglo-Saxon mount, probably from a shield, made from partly gilded copper alloy. Only one end of the mount survives, with an old break; it appears to be cast and would have originally been flat. It measures 47.9mm in surviving length and 25mm in width across the broken end. This tapers to a waist, and then bifurcates to form an intact terminal with two tapering projections. One projection is now bent diagonally over the other. Each projection is 33.5mm in length with a rounded shoulder and a tapering, outcurving rounded end. Both projections have a central panel, which is the same shape as the projections, filled with Style I zoomorphic decoration. These panels are thickly gilded. Above the mount’s narrow waist are the start of two further similar panels, which also follow the outline of the mount. They are also thickly gilded, and each panel is filled with a single Style I animal, with only the hindquarters and a single back leg surviving in each. Both the two complete panels on the terminals and the two incomplete panels at the break appear to be paired mirror images of each other. On the reverse of the tips of the projections there are integrally cast cylindrical rivets. The ungilded parts of the mount have no evidence for a white-metal coating or any other surface treatment. A narrow waist, rounded shoulders and a bifurcated terminal of similar size are also found on the winged dragon mount from the Sutton Hoo shield (Bruce-Mitford 1978, 63-66, plate 3, fig 50). The decorative scheme, however, is quite different, with the Sutton Hoo example bearing Style II decoration. This fragment is similar in both size and shape to the terminal of the complete winged dragon mount from the Sutton Hoo shield (Bruce-Mitford 1978, 63-66, plate 3, fig 50), which ends in a bifurcated terminal which appears to represent a pair of feet; this terminal appears to be a parallel for our fragment. The Sutton Hoo dragon is also made from cast copper alloy, although the metal is extremely thin; it is similarly narrow, but as much as 270mm in total length. Although the decoration on the dragon is also zoomorphic, it is in the later Style II. Similar dragon mounts, also with bifurcated terminals, are also found on contemporary high-status shields in Scandinavia, such as that from Vendel 1 (Bruce-Mitford 1978, fig. 72). Shield mounts from Anglo-Saxon England, although various in style, do not appear to have terminals of the same shape (Dickinson 2005). The Style I dates this shield mount to the 6th century AD; animal-ornamented shields appear to have begun to be used in England in the first half of the century (Dickinson 2005, 141).

Class: mount

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Date from: Circa AD 500
Date to: Circa AD 600

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 47.9 mm
Width: 25 mm
Weight: 12.57 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Thursday 1st December 2005

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Miss Faye Minter
Identified by: Miss Faye Minter

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Secondary material: Gold
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Fragment
Surface Treatment: Gilded

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Suffolk (County)
District: Suffolk Coastal (District)
To be known as: Friston

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: From a paper map
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Character undetermined

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SF
Created: 12 years ago
Updated: 7 years ago

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